The Lead Partner Playbook

Persistently failing schools are one of the greatest challenges facing public education today, threatening the future of all students and particularly those from low-income and underserved populations. Incremental solutions aren’t working for these students and school districts need a way to transform their neediest schools at scale.

The Lead Partner model introduces a structural entity that can prioritize and streamline services to schools in greatest need, granting the freedoms needed for school turnaround while providing the potential for more rapid scale and efficiency. They offer an innovative “third way” between the two polar approaches: total decentralization and school autonomy on the one hand and standardized command-and-control on the other. To take advantage of this opportunity districts need to focus on the “3C’s”: flexible operating conditions, expanded capacity, and clusters of schools to ramp up improvements more quickly.

Building upon the work of The Turnaround Challenge (2007), as well as an analysis of case studies, interviews, and artifacts currently in use in the field, the Lead Partner Playbook provides a realistic and detailed examination of Lead Partner development from planning to implementation, including possible sources of and trajectories for growth and practical details of what the model may look like in action.

  • The Lead Partner Playbook. This 70-page guide offers districts a step-by-step approach for creating the flexible operating conditions, specialized capacity, and community-based clusters of schools to turn around their lowest-performing schools.
  • Executive Summary. This 2-page summary highlights the lessons from The Lead Partner Playbook.